Thursday, October 13, 2016

Ol' Bent and Bowed.

This morning (1) I had my snoot in a snip. I could list all the ten thousand things that resulted in a snipped snoot, but bottom line I was perturbed.

When I am in no fit state for man or beast I tend to go take a walk. Usually these walks are to think on my feet, visit the locals and be able to cuss and mutter aloud where no one can hear me. It gets shit out of my system, and lets in fresh air and land-energy to fill that void and prevent the re-entry of a bad mood for at least a while.

I took a walk out to [Ol’ Bent and Bowed] who is/was the embodiment/anchor point/hot spot/vessel of Something. It’s hard to describe spirits sometimes, because who or rather what they are comes at me in a rush of wordless imagery. Oak trees, oak whiskey barrels, whiskey itself, something John Barleycorn-esque. Subtle loam-layers of moonshiners and distant storms, lightning-split trees gushing out black, whiskey-scented, water from their hollow innards. Paul Bunyan Hero-myth, wreathed in leaves and deep in his drink.

I poured him a shot of decent whiskey and popped the little shot glass atop a makeshift herm/altar of dead fall, bark and acorns. As he drank up his whiskey(‘s spiritual essence) he sat a spell and said that in his opinion all things, be they bad moods or death itself, can be undone by having a nip of the good shit. I had the good sense to stay quiet for a long moment and then said “Sounds like we both need another shot.” He laughed. I laughed. I’m sure it would’ve looked fuckin weird to anyone wandering by.


These days I increasingly work with my back yard, and de-emphasize organized or pre-packaged 'systems', simply because it's like using a map of London to get around rural Oklahoma. I’ve seen folks call this re-focus on geographically close features and spirits “locale cultus” and “mythologizing landscapes” and I’m not sure what I want to call it anymore, but I know that it is what I find works best.

Unfortunately, I see a lot of people who do the bioregional thing starting to do the nationalist thing and I’m not into that and would much rather not share my company, time, or words with persons of that leaning(2). It makes it difficult to discuss anything - when you listen you start to hear echoes that you don’t wanna hear, or even find disgusting. When your heart and soul starts being co-opted by the terminally misguided. The water gets muddy. Nothin’ good comes of it, most times.

Because of the above I don’t share my opinions much these days, nor do I share my experiences. There’s a reason you can see the count of yearly posts just fuckin’ tank on my blog. It’s a little because of the above, a lot because of bullying, and some sprinkles on top of people ignoring personal boundaries. In short: It’s a burn-out.
So, naturally, here I am in the woods talking to a spirit who both is and is not a tree and both is and is not whiskey and both is and is not a person. We are combating the forces of entropy with a nip of the good shit. I ask him questions about who he is, and he parries each thrust with a joke or a quip so fuckin' perfect that I can’t even be angry. He tells me his titles and his names and that is that. He is who he is and he is who he is not. He is [Ol’ Bent and Bowed], and that’s all there is to it.

My research into the names he gives and titles he offers is uselessly academic. I know that if I want to be right with him I give him whiskey and if he is right with me I am right with the world. What more would I care to know? But still I look, finding stories of devilish preachers who can talk to the dead, May-Day customs, ‘Mountain folklore’, moonshiner songs, and other things of ill repute. I find little specks of gold that come together to form … well, the same picture I already have.

“Who you tryin’ to learn me for?” he asks. Not what, or why, but who. And that makes sense. If I want to know him for myself I’m already there, and if I wanted to introduce someone to him the easiest way would be to simply… make the introduction. I dribble the shot glass out onto the little shrine, dust my knees off and say “Settles that, don’t it?” He laughs, I laugh. It probably looks really fucking weird.

This is what it can look like to work your land. You are the priest who writes the books, and makes the grimoires. You are the one who listens and discerns. And ultimately, where you do and don't chose to share that is going to be important. Read as much as you can, yes, absolutely - and then grow your own questions and experiments from that. Never, ever, let it be inviolate, untouchable, and set in stone. Never, ever, shy away from learning more.

Look to the spirits themselves and ask the questions that matter to you. You can create a spirit guide, grimoire, or D&D style bestiary that captures a photo of your sphere of influence (or sphere that you are influenced by)... but just beyond that edge it’s going to start to lose meaning. Your Codex Cincinati will probably fall flat in the Everglades. That’s a good thing, though, right?

After all… who you tryin’ to learn them for?

(1) This is Coffee Blog 101. Every morning I take the time to enjoy some coffee, and often have as close as I get to real meditation. Coffee blogs come from those quiet morning moments and collect enough other thoughts to form a post. The day described happened on 7/2/16. The pictures are not from that day.

(2) I hate virtue signaling so consider this my first, last, and only effort to signal my stance against racism, sexism, facism, etc. Just read my tumblr, I'm a big, queer, doom hippy. 


  1. I can relate to this a lot. Much of my practice these days looks like this (very localized, and also a lot of me talking and laughing with People no one else is aware of) and there's therefore less and less point in sharing online.

  2. I wish you would write more. It's really refreshing to read somebody who is so grounded and genuine with themselves and their work. Plus you tend to say a lot of things I've been thinking for years, that few others seem to have the balls to publicly say. Tumblr's witchcraft scene is a total piece of work and a real shame that it should silence you.